BEN LYONS Chief Executive Officer, EYOS
Ben Lyons has spent his entire life captivated by ships and travel. As a captain, travel writer, MBA and EYOS Chief Executive Officer, Ben’s unique set of skills allows him to mix his passion for travel and work.
ROB MCCALLUM Founding Partner, Expedition Leader, EYOS
Having guided a complete circumnavigation of Antarctica by icebreaker and undertaken extensive deep ocean exploration, EYOS Founding Partner Rob McCallum puts his diverse background to use as an expedition leader.
TAMSIN VAUGHAN Client Director, EYOS
With a passion for travel and invaluable industry connections, Tamsin has a talent for bringing to life once-in-a-lifetime voyages to yacht owners and charter guests.
SACHA WILLIAMS, Global Charter Marketing Director, Northrop & Johnson
With an impressive background in yachting, Sacha has worked extensively with clients and owners to ensure the best possible experience for all. Using her in-depth knowledge of the charter yacht fleet and appetite for adventure, Sacha’s aim is to enrich her clients’ experience on board by discovering destinations in new ways.
From bespoke itineraries to experiencing a destination like a local, curated travel experiences are inevitably big on imagination and emotion. Northrop & Johnson talks to EYOS Expeditions about crafting adventures and discovering parts of the planet that few others have experienced.
“Unique experiences should be as much a part of the charter lifestyle as five-star chefs and the latest water toys,” says Sacha Williams, Northrop & Johnson’s Global Charter Marketing Director. “Clients who have spent their summers discovering the Mediterranean or winters in the Caribbean are looking to do something new.” Fortunately, yachts are responding with rare-experience options as their owners choose to venture further afield, and with the growing capabilities of explorer yachts, the barrier to some of the world’s most remote and challenging cruising grounds has been lifted. “From the tropical band, through the temperate zones all the way to the polar regions, we can recommend an adventure for the most intrepid of explorers and to those new to exploration yachting,” says Rob McCallum, EYOS’ Founding Partner and Expedition Leader. “Every voyage is completely customized to the client’s comfort level and can vary from relatively easy to something with more challenge.”
“Many of the world’s more remote cruising areas require specialist knowledge from guides or pilots, as well as local contacts to help obtain permits,” says Sacha. “We work closely with EYOS Expeditions, who in turn work with our yacht captains, owners and charter clients to maximize their experience in some of the most isolated and pristine regions of the world.” EYOS pride themselves in providing the expertise, understanding and logistical support that charter brokers, captains and clients wouldn’t otherwise have, while elevating the charter or owner experience to the next level. “We are also there to ensure safety in remote regions, while at the same time ensuring that proper environmental and wilderness protocols are observed,” says Ben Lyons, EYOS’ Chief Executive Officer.
Finding genuinely extraordinary experiences that go beyond the day-to-day takes vision, courage and experience. “EYOS is fortunate in that our team has been in the industry for decades, and we have developed an incredible network over the years,” says Ben. “Our knowledge of some of the world’s most isolated areas and the people that live and work there is not just superficial; it is deep, heartfelt and genuine.” Such longstanding relationships have resulted in EYOS being able to open doors to areas that are not usually accessible. “Our unblemished track record gives people surety that we treasure and respect the special places in which we are privileged to operate,” says Rob. And then there are the unique contacts with whom EYOS have teamed up with over the years. “We have worked with the premier whale photographer in the world for National Geographic for over twenty years; the first person to go down to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Pacific Ocean sits on our Advisory Board; and one of our guides in Papua New Guinea is a local chief who has helped facilitate some amazing experiences shared with the local community.” One-of-a-kind is a term often used when talking about superyachts, but working with EYOS brings an elevated dimension. “We strive for authenticity in every experience we offer, and we aim to design the perfect blend between a client’s interests and a destinations offering,” says Rob. “Clients get to meet the real people and see behind the cultural screen. They will see the conditions that shaped these regions, experience the sights, sounds, smells and tastes…the real essence of the place.”
But where to go if you are dipping your toe into adventure yachting? According to Rob, Svalbard is a great option for a first Arctic trip, and Ben agrees. “There are regular flights there, and you can be out searching for polar bears shortly after landing,” says Ben. “Few wildlife encounters can match the thrill of seeing a polar bear walk across the ice towards your yacht.” Meanwhile, the Antarctic Peninsula is EYOS’ most popular Antarctic option. “If folks want to step it up, then an expedition to the Ross Sea in deep Antarctica can earn some bragging rights,” says Rob. “You can’t help but to come away from Antarctica being inspired,” adds Ben. “In the tropics the easier trips are to Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands for the keen divers, and to Papua New Guinea for those who want to experience unique cultures; it’s an anthropological Mecca.”
EYOS take time to work with the entire team, including the charter broker, the yacht captain and the owner or lead charterer themselves to gain a better understanding of the client’s motivations. “Developing an expedition involves listening to the client – asking what they are hoping to get out of the trip, understanding who their guests are going to be, and truly understanding the capabilities of their vessel,” says Tamsin Vaughan, Client Director at EYOS. “From there, our team will work with all parties involved to put together a program that suits their needs. And most importantly, our expedition leaders are experts at being able to adjust the program at any given moment – they are adept at recognizing what the client is reacting to and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Nothing can be too rigid.” Ben agrees. “The key to a successful expedition is spontaneity,” explains Ben. “An experienced guide, who can not only look at the weather and plan to be at the right place at the right time but also recognize when a situation has the potential to become extraordinary, can literally make or break an expedition.” Clients may not initially understand that every day will not follow a rigid schedule, but this can lead to the best opportunities. “It may mean completely abandoning the day’s landing in order to follow Orcas for several hours,” explains Ben. “We can help curate and shape the experience of guests, making judgment calls along the way to create the optimal experience.”
Often clients will have unbelievable imaginations and bring some really fun ideas to the table that EYOS have successfully facilitated. Such experiences can range from helping clients to achieve world records to discovering previously inaccessible locations. Most recently EYOS helped facilitate a client’s desire to reach the deepest point of each of the world’s five oceans. From sunset cocktails on the rim of an erupting volcano to champagne at a luxury camp at the South Pole, these really are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. “The requests can be varied,” explains Ben. “We have developed itineraries around the fur trade of Alaska, and helped clients realize their dream of diving in Antarctica with National Geographic photographers. But we are also realistic. There are some areas, some topics, where we are not the true experts, and in those cases, we are candid with the clients, and we work with our local partners that are better equipped than we are.”
Some might question how responsible it is to be traveling to previously undiscovered areas, especially given the constant news about climate change and the devastating effects this is having on the Arctic and Antarctic ice caps. This is something that EYOS are extremely passionate about. “We are fortunate to have been able to introduce many of the world’s opinion leaders and decision makers to some of the world’s more critical challenges, the most notable being climate change,” says Rob. “Profound moments such as sitting on a hilltop overlooking a glacier have led to some major political shifts. These collective moments become a legacy that I am very proud of.” The destinations cannot help but have an impact on those fortunate enough to experience them, changing them in a deep and profound manner. “It may sound far-fetched, but it is true – these regions have that kind of effect,” says Ben. Aside from introducing clients to all that the world has to offer while paying attention to the devastating effects of climate change, EYOS belong to industry organizations such as The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) and The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), which help shape the policies toward sustainable visitation to the polar region, and support both organizations and their goals. So, with EYOS, rest assured you will be discovering these remote locations in a safe and responsible manner.